A GREEN TREASURE
The Congo Basin in Central Africa harbours around one fourth of the rainforest worldwide. Comprising an area of 1.7 million km², it is the second largest coherent rainforest region on earth. Only the Amazon rainforest is larger. In the heart of the vast forest area, there is a 13,500 km² protected area: the Odzala-Kokoua national park.
RAINFOREST MEANS BREATHING
The African rainforest may seem far away to Europeans, Americans, Asians or Australians, but its contributions to our green lungs and climatic stability are vital globally. Thus, destroying it has disastrous consequences.
Rainforests store greenhouse gases and stabilize the climate. The rainforest of the Congo Basin is a giant reservoir for CO2 and thus of critical importance for the global climate. The people living in or near the national park work with us to protect the rainforest. Sabine Plattner African Charities will be struggling that tropical forest, which developed over millions of years, will not be destroyed within a few decades.
IN THE FOREST OF SUPERLATIVES
The rainforest is a unique habitat. No other place in the world harbours as many different animal and plant species. The national park is also home to a range of endangered animal species hardly found elsewhere in the wild. Along with elephants, forest buffalos, hyenas, and many butterfly and bird species, there’s a group of Western Lowland Gorillas living in Odzala-Kokoua national park.
AT HOME IN ODZALA
Around Odzala-Kokoua national park mainly Bantu and Pygmy people live in villages. Some just consist of a few huts, while others have some thousand inhabitants, with mayors, shops, churches and schools. Odzala means “home” to around 80.000 people. The women grow corn, cassava and other crops on the fields, in some villages in the north also coffee and cocoa. What the families don’t need for themselves is sold on the market.
The rainforest is the livelihood for millions of people in central Africa. Humans and nature live together closely, in good times and in bad times. Entire cultures, such as the Pygmy people, lead a “forest life”. Pygmies and Bantu live along the national park. The forest is their environment, jungle pharmacy, shelter and food source. Thus any destruction of nature will sooner or later affect the people, too. SPAC therefore follows a comprehensive approach: to strengthen the people in order to allow them to become protectors of the rainforest and its animals.
The protection and conservation of the national park is creating employment, and herewith a sustainable positive development. The park management alone is offering 250 jobs, as eco-guard, tracker, or in an administrative position. The national park’s administration is run by African Parks, an experienced partner in nature conservation.
In addition to this, schools and humanitarian projects offer employment possibilities. These investments will pay off. Apprenticeships and job offers are the only long-term alternatives to poaching and deforestation.
Gorillas are for several years listed as critically endangered species. The
scientific work by our local team is an important part of the ongoing
efforts to protect the habitat of the 150 Western Lowland Gorillas.